After tucking into free meals of chicken and receiving 'ang pow' packets, half the crowd left the event before the arrival of PM Najib.
Busloads of them were ferried from throughout Selangor to the MIC organised event, and at one point the crowd was estimated to be about 50,000.
The highlight of the event was the speech of the Prime Minister but by the time Najib Tun Razak arrived, half of the crowd, having tucked in free KFC snack plates, deserted the field.
A MIC branch chairman claimed that each individual who attended the event was given a RM20 “ang pow” packet.
Nevetheless, the crowd probably felt that they had done their duty simply by attending the event as by the time Najib arrived at 5.30pm, half the field was empty.
Even the organisers, made up of several MIC national leaders, failed in their effort to get the crowd, most of whom had waited for more than three hours to stay for Najib’s speech.
Even MIC G Palanivel acknowledged that half the crowd left the event after sometime, and offered the excuse that it could be due to the scorching heat.
“Most of the participants left after taking the food, maybe because the weather was too hot for them to handle,” he said.
The event was dubbed ‘BN Pilihan Rakyat’ (BN the Peoples Choice) gathering, and meant to bring in Indian voters in Selangor to show support for the Prime Minister and the BN.
Najib, who recently appointed himself Selangor BN chief, had declared that the BN will do whatever it takes to win back Selangor from Pakatan Rakyat.
Indian voters played a major role in handing the state to the opposition pact made up of PKR, PAS and DAP in 2008.
Tussle for Kapar seat
Although political pundits and observers have said Indian support in Selangor was swinging towards the BN, the turnout at the ‘BN Pilihan Rakyat’ gathering indicated otherwise.
The event was not solely attended by Indians but also Malays, who make up the majority of voters for the Kapar parliamentary seat.
Yesterday’s gathering paled in comparison to the “Ponggal Unity Festival”, also organised by the MIC about two months ago, at Dataran Merdeka, which drew almost 100,000 Indians.
Although Najib was his usual flamboyant self at the gathering, the Prime Minister must have been left wondering if his dream of capturing Selangor would indeed come true.
He went on to announce to the crowd that the BN government will not demolish shrines built inside compounds of houses if it came to power in Selangor.
He made this in an obvious reference to the Pakatan-led government which demolished a Hindu shrine inside a house compound in Sepang recently.
He also promised to establish a Little India in Klang similar to the one in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur.
While these two promises were to the Indian community, there was a sizable of Malays among the crowd who were perhaps interested in what he had to offer them.
Najib may have missed a golden opportunity to introduce BN’s new candidate for the Kapar parliamentary constituency.
The seat was contested by Wanita MIC chief Komala Krishnamoorthy in 2008 where she was soundly beaten, and sources say the party would pit a new candidate to regain the seat.
“The MIC wants one candidate while the BN has picked someone else. They have not resolved the issue. That is why Najib did not announce the candidate,” said a MIC leader.